Thank you very much for taking the time to review this chapter of the 2015 WorldLink Reader. This chapter will focus on a relatively novel and extremely fluid topic of study, transitional justice. As its name suggests, transitional justice is often defined by experts as a unique approach to justice adopted during times of transition from a conflict-ridden to a post-conflict society. More specifically, transitional justice encompasses measures that aim to redress the legacies of massive human rights abuses, mend tears in the delicate social fabric of transitioning communities, and repair governments with the hope of shaping a peaceful, stable, and democratic future. Transitional justice is one of the means by which we as a society can begin to heal the wounds of violence and attain comprehensive solutions to global conflicts that are congruous with the distinctive needs and desires of sovereign nations around the globe.
There are numerous elements that comprise a “holistic” transitional justice policy. These include but are not limited to criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, reparation programs, gender justice, institutional reform, security system reform, and memorialization efforts. For the purposes of the 2015 WorldLink Reader, this chapter has been divided into the following five sections: Overview of Transitional Justice, Truth Commissions, Criminal Prosecutions, Reparation Programs, and Institutional Reforms. As you read through this chapter, you will learn about the roots of transitional justice in Rwanda and Argentina, the way in which a new constitution can help to prevent both ethnic and election violence, the role of young adults in truth commissions, measures taken to ensure that victims’ voices are not lost or silenced, the various phases of effective policy-making, and much more.
I now invite you to explore the rest of this chapter and actively engage in understanding the role of transitional justice in this incredibly complex world. Education is the key. It is absolutely crucial that we study global issues in order to begin to reach our full potential as active and responsible global citizens. After you finish reading this chapter, I urge you to continue to explore more topics that are of interest to you. Furthermore, while it might seem initially daunting, voice your opinion on these issues and engage in discussion because even one voice can have a positive impact. Topics you may encounter in this chapter are often very heavy. However, it is my true hope that this chapter will inspire you to become an advocate and a leader, who will seek to benefit your community and the world around you.
Sonya Jacobs, La Jolla Country Day School / Harvard College
WorldLink 2014 Summer Intern